Sunday, May 26, 2013

King's Chicken Curry

I was lazily channel-surfing one afternoon when I caught a glimpse of a man cooking in the outdoors. I quickly flipped back and saw that he was high up on a deserted mountain cooking a chicken curry on a small wood stove. He proceeded to make a paste with fresh turmeric and some other spices using the floor as base and another stone to grind with. It was all so rustic. 

As I continued to watch, I learnt that he was in Sri Lanka making a regal curry. What struck me though was that the ingredients used were quite similar to Pakistani ones and most of them are readily available in a Pakistani kitchen.

I googled the recipe, determined to try it for myself. The programme was My Sri Lanka with Peter Kuruvita on NatGeo Adventure. It's a 10-part series and I'm not entirely sure which episode I was watching, but I'm glad I found the recipe online.

With the exception of sandalwood and fresh turmeric (I used turmeric powder instead) I knew I could get together all the ingredients I needed to make this dish.

Served with rice this chicken curry is delicious and so unique. I love the flavour the paan brings to it, along with the other spices, all held together in the slightly tangy coconut-creamy chicken broth.

I'm impressed Peter Kuruvita. Next, I want to try the Prawns with Black Pepper and Curry Leaf Sauce.

King's Chicken Curry

Adapted from Peter Kuruvita

1 chicken, cut into 8-10 pieces
1 onion, sliced
4 to 5 cloves garlic, crushed
4 or 5 green chillies, chopped
2 paan leaves, torn into small pieces
1 sprig curry leaves
10 black peppercorns
¼ cup cooking oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
6 cloves
4 cardamom pods, crushed
2 to 3 cups water
1 can (400 ml) coconut cream
Dried red chillies, to garnish
  1. In a large bowl or dish, add the chicken, onion, garlic, green chillies, paan leaves, curry leaves and peppercorns and mix well. Leave the mixture to marinate for about 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a large cooking pot, then add the chicken mixture and cook for a few minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink.
  3. Stir in the vinegar, then add the mustard seeds and turmeric and cook for about one minute.
  4. Add the cloves and cardamom pods and fry for another minute.
  5. Add the water to the pot, turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.
  6. When the chicken is cooked, add the coconut cream, mix well and bring to the boil. When the curry has boiled take it off the heat.
  7. Garnish with dried red chillies and serve.